Posted On: 03-18-2020

Now more than ever as coaches we/you need to communicate with our youth shooting teams.  Take this opportunity to set into action some activities and off-range ways to help out.  I start this with exercise.  While we are caught indoors or effectively near home, we still need to maintain sleep schedules and exercise routines.  I direct this specifically at the shooting sports so consider the following:

  • Gun mounts – have each team member while at home raise and mount their guns 100 times each day.  Make sure this is a conscious effort to include the pre-shot routine (worth now thinking through and ore on this later) and as these mounts start to add up ask those shooters to share their thoughts on getting tired.  I see this as one part of this sport we often overlook.  Great to shoot 25, but when we get to 50, 75 and 100 especially when we have to run them back-to-back we get tired.  That of course impacts our routine and our ability to repeat our gun mount the same way every time.   Have them share on a local website (Facebook) their reactions to this exercise with you and when do they start to:
  • Notice they are slowing down
    • Notice the barrel dropping slightly
    • Arms getting tired
    • Inability to be consistent
    • Cheek fails to meet the stock
    • Eyes wander
    • Lose focus
  • Follow the ceiling – Yes we know this exercise well but most just don’t do it.  Set a goal that each shooter will mount and follow the intersection of the wall and ceiling back and forth 100 times.  While we mounted guns in the first exercise now we have to sustain that mount for a period of time – good exercise.  Ask them to share:
  • When they started losing the ability to follow (minutes)
    • Lost focus
    • Tiredness
    • Boredom

I have added the word boredom because these exercises are not going to increase dopamine levels like a text message.  They will get bored with exercising unless you can get feedback and you can provide feedback.  Motivation is so important and without it they will quit doing these exercises. 

Make a competition of this by including parents to count and watch.  Let then certify the effort and provide something to those that meet 10,000 mounts or 1,000 minutes of following the wall.  Set a goal and praise, complement and reward those that accomplish these goals. 

  • Focus – last one is have them spend a few minutes in deep thought.  No cell phone, no interruptions, and no distractions.  Use this breathing method called the 4-7-8 breathing technique, also known as “relaxing breath,” that involves breathing in for 4 seconds, holding the breath for 7 seconds, and exhaling for 8 seconds. This breathing pattern aims to reduce anxiety or help people get to sleep. Some proponents claim that the method helps people get to sleep in 1 minute.  Learning this and knowing this will improve their stress levels, lower anxiety and allow them to focus.  Practice make perfect. 

Next time I will talk about breathing methods.

David R. Vaught, Ph.D.

Executive Director

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